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by Rich Pliskin | March 10, 2009


You've heard it all before: The job search is hard work. Finding the right position is a full-time job itself. It's all true. After all, you're not just looking for a "job." You're looking for a fit, a career, a match, a big fat paycheck with outsized benefits and an easy commute. It's supposed to be difficult.

To get the position you want, you have to stand out. And the best place to start is with a good, sharp letter of introduction. Simply put, if the letter flops, forget the job. So to help your cause, we've assembled a few misguided attempts at cover letters from prospective hires, plus a few responses from hiring managers. We hope they help you avoid pitfalls that could hinder your own job search.

Good luck!

You Should Play to Your Strengths. But What if You Have None?

Dear Mr Christopher Hammonds...

Have seen your ad for languish teacher needed in NYC city skool seestem and am would like to have chance to do so as well. Have bean in America for several going on three years and am have grown wery attached. No plans to leave vitout extradition order. As well.

In my former country, where I worked at series of oddball jobs. These are oddball jobs dut preparation me for rough hewn role in city school seestem as teetcher and roll muddel: what you call autmotive mechanic at missle site preceeded by farm hand, culminating in directorship of Finance Ministry. Have long loved children but not to excess. As well.

So I achievement? You know where to reach me at address. As well.

Alexy Meinkov

Sometimes Employers Need You As Much As You Need Them

Dear Mr. Meinkov:

Welcome aboard! Can you start Thursday?

Christopher Hammond
Classroom Resources Coordinator
Board of Education, City of New York

~ Playing To Their Weaknesses

Dear Mr. Mardian:

I look forward to meeting you next week. Timothy LaPolla has told me so much about CornAway Corp. As Tim may have mentioned, I'm in Ointments at Slip-Sliding Away, Inc., where I feel I'm not being used to my full potential.

Tim may also have noted that I suffer from Optical Refractory Rotation, an ocular flaw that causes my field of vision to swing upside-down without warning. Although I have largely adjusted to my condition, I do occasionally become disoriented and bump into things: furniture, walls, doors, pets, fruit-stands, saw horses, and the like. Should my appearance concern you, rest assured that I'm a "normal" bleeder and that the heavy bruising usually clears in 24 to 48 hours, after which I'm again available for client contact (literally! Ha, ha, ha!).

As I'm sure you know, sufferers of Optical Refractory Rotation constitute a protected class under the Equal Protection and Commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 104 Stat. 328, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. (herein "ADA"), including Title I (Employment) and Title II (Access), entitling them/us to preferential treatment in the workplace and providing for crushing damages upon proof of discrimination. The prevailing standard of proof, as you may know, Rick, is preponderance of suspicion. (See ADA; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 706(8)(B); ADA: An Introduction for Lawyers and Judges, 29 Land & Water L.Rev. 175 (1994); Bragdon v. Abbott, 118 S.Ct. 2196 (1998), et al., supra., ibid, ergo ipso facto.)

I look forward to working with you.

Sincerely, Wendy Praegar

~ In a Tight Labor Market, You Might Have the Upper Hand

Dear Mr. Jurnigan:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me regarding career opportunities at Consolidated Fluid & Flame - "The First in Fire." And thank you, as well, for your exceptionally generous offer. As you know, I've long coveted a position with the Matchtip Division. You're so far ahead of Ohio Bluetip, it's not even funny.

Regrettably, however, I must decline the offer. While I respect your skills and experience, and while I found you personable and inspiring, that revolting little ball of spit on your lower lip is simply more than I could bear on a daily basis. Sorry about the dry heaving.

Should you retire, die or undergo oral surgery, please let me know. Until then, see you on the flint!

Yours truly,
Robert Dorsan

~ Convincing Them of Your Interest in The Company

Dear Mr. Brinkman:

When I first saw your ad for an assistant bank branch manager, I got all the old feelings back: Death by office, What's the meaning of life, etc., etc. I thought of Tellson's from A Tale of Two Cities (who wouldn't?), updated for the '00's:

"When they took a young man into Tellson's London house ... [t]hey kept him in a dark place, like a cheese, until he had the full Tellson flavour and blue-mould upon him."

No way, not for me. Not for nothing have I spent the last 14 years bumming around, hitching rides and oddjobbing in the hidden corners of the economy - keeping a journal and writing, Writing, WRITING! Always sucking the marrow out of life's fruit.

But I thought it over. I read your ad a few times, tried to put it out of my head but kept coming back to it. The "bottom line" is that I need the money like you wouldn't believe. In 14 years I haven't published a letter to the editor - let alone a movie script, novel or beer jingle. I may be through with writing. I don't know. What I do know is that I need a change. I need a break, and I think First National Equity Security Depository Trust & Fiduciary could be that break.

I look forward to hearing from you. Do you have dress-down Fridays?

Ted Gardner

~ Personnel Doesn't Always Mean Personal

Dear _________________ (insert prospect's name):

It was a pleasure/real scary (circle one) meeting you on _________ (fill in date). We have carefully/glancingly (circle one) reviewed your application and credentials for employment at The Sugar Shack. It is with pleasure/regret (circle one) that we are able/unable (circle one) to offer you the position for which you applied.

On a personal note, (insert personalized valediction here) I wish you great success w/ the remainder of your work-release program.

Edmund Lambros

Rich Pliskin is a public relations executive from Princeton, New Jersey.


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